Previously unreleased 'Gainesville' lives on after Tom Petty's passing
Legendary rock star Tom Petty has made many famous references to his hometown—some that long-time friend Keith Harben vividly remembers being a part of.
“Some of the songs, he talks about things about ‘I’ve been in your house, you’ve been in mine. I’ve slept in your tree house,” Harben said. “And that relates to some things that we’ve did when we were young before he started his music career.”
Even those who didn’t know Petty could relate to the local “Glen Springs” or Gainesville’s “Lillian’s Music Store”—all referenced in the song “Dreamville.”
“Tom wrote about Gainesville all the time,” said Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe. “His songs are completely laced with Gainesville references, Alachua county references.”
What we didn’t know was he actually wrote a song called “Gainesville.” It’s never been released—until now.
“It’s exciting to hear this,” Harben said. “This is the first release of new music since his passing last year.”
“Now that we have our own song named Gainesville, I feel like everyone is going to start looking us up, I’m sure,” Poe said.
Gainesville’s lyrics reminisce back to Petty’s years before fame, reading: “It was long ago, far away, another time, another day.”
Friends like Harben say those years never changed him.
“He never acted like Mr. Hollywood,” Harben said. “He never acted like a big shot. He acted like the guy I knew all my life.”
“Gainesville” is one of many songs that have laid in secret for years.
More unheard tracks will be listed on the upcoming boxset, “An American Treasure.”
“From the very beginning to his passing, he was creating and putting out quality music,” Harben said. “That’s why they can do this boxset. They could probably do 50 more of these things with all the music he’s put together.”
Friends and fans say this album is just one more way his legacy lives on.
The new album is set to release September 28th.